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The 150 Things the World's Smartest People Are Afraid Of

1. The proliferation of Chinese eugenics. – Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist. 2. Black swan events, and the fact that we continue to rely on fraudulent. – "asse "icholas Tale! odels that have !een proven !eyond the error catastrophe #. That we will !e una!le to defeat viruses !y learning to push the threshold. – $illia Mc%wan, olecular !iology researcher (. That the age of accelerating technology will overwhel )an *per!er, social and cognitive scientist

&. That pseudoscience will gain ground. – 'elena Cronin, author, philospher us with opportunities to !e worried. –

+. Genuine apocalyptic events. The growing nu !er of low,pro!a!ility events that could lead to the total devastation of hu an society. – Martin -ees, for er president of the -oyal *ociety .. The decline in science coverage in newspapers. – Bar!ara *trauch, "ew /ork Ti es science editor 0. %1ploding stars, the eventual collapse of the *un, and the pro!le s with the hu an id that prevent us fro dealing with the . ,, 2ohn Too!y, founder of the field of evolutionary psychology 3. That the internet is ruining writing. – )avid Gelernter, /ale co puter scientist 14. That s art people,,like those who contri!ute to %dge,,won5t do politics. –Brian %no, usician 11. That there will !e another supernova,like financial disaster. –*eth 6loyd, professor of 7uantu Mechanical %ngineering at M8T 12. That search engines will !eco e ar!iters of truth. ,,$. )aniel 'illis, physicist 1#. The dearth of desira!le ates is so ething we should worry a!out, for 9it lies !ehind hu an treachery and !rutality.: –)avid M. Buss, professor of psychology at ; of T uch

1&. <85 worried that our technology is helping to !ring the long, postwar consensus against fascis to an end.: –)avid Bodanis, writer, futurist 1(. That we will continue to uphold ta!oos on !ad words. –Benha in Bergen, =ssociate >rofessor of Cognitive *cience, ;C* 1+. )ata disenfranchise ent. –)avid -owan, editor, Wired UK 1.. That digital technologies are sapping our patience and changing our perception of ti e. – "icholas G. Carr, author 10. =n <underpopulation !o !.: –?evin ?elly, editor,at,large, Wired. 13. That funding for !ig e1peri ents will dry up, and they won5t happen. –6isa -andall, 'arvard physicist 24. <8 worry that as the pro!le ,solving power of our technologies increases, our a!ility to distinguish !etween i portant and trivial or even non,e1istent pro!le s di inishes.: –%vgeny Moro@ov, contri!uting editor, Aoreign >olicy 21. "ot uch. 8 ride otorcycles without a hel et. –2. Craig Benter, geno ic scientist 22. Catharsis is a transcendent Coy thatDcan you repeat EuestionF –=ndrian ?reye, editor, Ger an )aily "ewspaper

professor of psychology #+. The future of science pu!lishing. infor ation scientist #2. –'elen Aisher.-o!ert *opolsky. !ut a!out all possible pro!le s. *tress. for the first ti e. <The diversion of intellectual effort fro innovation to e1ploitation. professor of !ehavioural neuroscience 20.fication of science writing. That technology #. are shaped !y cri eM *tates in which !ills and laws are pro ulgated !y cri inals and. <8 further postuate we should in fact !e 9$orried9 not Cust a!out a single selected pro!le . –Bruce *terling.intellectualis and the end of progress. 'arvard Business *chool prof ay endanger de ocracy. physicistLcos ologist 23. !oth possi!ilities should worry us.. curator. That the new digital pu!lic sphere isn5t really so pu!lic. we all fail together.. "orton. 2(. –*a 'arris. – %duardo *alcedo.: Hco plete answerI.. The social edia. $e should worry a!out several 9 odern9 *tates that.!aran. –Bernor Binge. and arvel stupidly.. *erptine Gallery the Cari!!ean ay not 2+. physicist ind around the world. –=rianna 'uffington. !ut also as a cultural fra e.. the only witnesses to its wonder. 8t see s to that the greatest challenge we now face is to !uild the . –Arank $ilc@ek. –'ans .fi author #0.Terry Gillia 2&. neuroscientist 2. co puter scientist. Colo !ian philosopher #1. *ensi!le !eings that we are. the distraction of incessant warfare. .: –Bart ?osko.: Ti o 'annay. Cultural e1tinction. . The )anger Jf 8nadvertently >raising Kygo atic =rches. and the fact that the works of an o!scure writer fro get enough attention. <$e5ve now. 8t is also possi!le that we are living in a universal sea of sentience. –?ate 2effery. The rise of anti.: –2ennifer 2acEuet. –6awrence M. –Michael 8. legiti i@ed through for al and 9legal9 de ocracy. even worse. Cournalis professor &(. neuroscientist &&. athe atician. professor of psychiatry &#. That = ericans are ho ogeni@ing and e1porting their view of a nor al –>.assured destruction. <8Gve given up asking Euestions. –'ai 'arari. Mutually. aggregationist e1traordinaire e .lrich J!rist. playwright and director &+. –2essica 6. got a single glo!al civili@ation. That there are an infinity of universes out there. surrounded !y ecstasy and strife that is open to our influence. 8f it fails. &2. <$e should worry that so uch of our science and technology still uses Cust five ain odels of pro!a!ilityDeven though there are ore pro!a!ility odels than there are real nu !ers. clinical assistant professor of environ ental studies. Men. neuroscientist &1. <$e should !e worried a!out the new era of =nthropoceneDnot only as a geological pheno enon. author #3. –=ndrew 6ih. Murali )oraiswa y. C%J and founder of JG-eilly Media #4. $e need institutions and cultural nor s that ake us !etter than we tend to !e. 'u anity5s un itigated arrogance. fleeting specks of awareness in an unfeeling cos ic desert.Marco 8aco!oni.: –-ichard Aore an. l erely float on a tsuna i of acceptance of anything life throws at e.. pu!lisher ##. ?rauss. !ut that we are only a!le to study the one we live in. in practical ter s. <8t is possi!le that we are rare.. rising funda entalis : ay trigger a )ark =ge. )on5t worryDthere won5t !e a singularity. M8T physicist &4. sci.: –Ti J5-eilly.2#. !iological anthropologist #&. physicist #(. "/. That we will stop dying. 98 worry that we donGt really understand Euantu pheno ena: –6ee * olin.

. ?enrick. ..Gavin *ch idt. –Gino *egre. which is uneven glo!ally !ut widespread. Cornell (&. astrophysicist (. Cournalist and author ar!le trap. software pioneer (+. psychology professor .*herry Turkle. archaeologist. .Bictoria *todden. statistics professor +3.. security technologist ((.. –>aul *affo. –?ai ?rause. That the gap !etween news and understanding is widening.: –2ohn "aughton. –Gregory Benford. ?auff an. –Christine Ainn. The co ing fight !etween engineers and druids. Cournalist and author +1. . (1. perhaps a futile eaninglessness in our Modernity. Boing Boing &0. That we will !eco e like rats stuck in a !lue and astrono y (3. technology forecaster +#.: –Bruce 'ood.: Neni 2ardin.: .rsula Martin. <$hat worries e is the ongoing 9greying9 of the world population.2ayne Blake ore +. Too uch coupling. That the internet will end up !enefiting e1isting power structures and not society in general.. –2oseph 6e)ou1. dinosaur paleontologist.. co puter scientist +4.: . <=s so eone fairly co itted to the death of our solar syste and ulti ately the entropy of the universe.. That we will worry too uch. ean the end of facts. professor of physics O astrono y (2. That we 9are inarticulately lost in Modernity. <$hat worries e is that we are increasingly en eshed in inco petent syste s. syste s that e1hi!it pathological !ehaviour !ut canGt fi1 the selves. That we will spend too uch ti e on social . =ug ented reality. co putational legal edia. neurologist +0. and astrono y ++. *tuart =. Edge editor (#.: *arah. That we will see the end of funda ental science –Mario 6ivio. That this year5s %dge topic has !een poorly chosen.9 –Bruce >arker. &3. . = scarcity of water resources. That hu ankind will stop pursuing close o!servation. professor of applied athe atics. – Bruce *chneier. Many of us see to sense the end of so ething.Marcel ?ins!ourne. That 8diocracy is loo ing.2. That we are !eco ing too connected. That we will literally lose touch with the physical world. That !ig data and new edia will scholar. professor +2. –*teven *trogat@. –$illia >oundstone. –Giulio Boccaletti. 8 think the Euestion of what we should worry a!out is irrelevant in the end. physicist +(..1. < 8 worry a!out the lost opportunity of denying the worldGs teenagers access to education. <8 worry we have yet to have a conversation a!out what see s to !e a developing 9new nor al9 a!out the presence of screens in the playroo and kindergarten: . ondo. –.)avid Berre!y. professor of !iological sciences. prof of physics (0. that is.&. <$e should all !e worried a!out the gaping psychological chas nature: –*cott *a pson.4.!u er +&. physics. <$e should !e worried that science has not yet !rought us closer to understanding cancer.. <$e should !e worrying a!out a growing do inance of the Aourth PpopQ Culture and how it ay directly or indirectly affect us all. pshcyhologist. neuroscientist separating hu anity fro (4. –)ouglas T. "=*= cli atologist . The parado1 of aterial progress. Cournalist. –-olf )o!elli.

. . =r ageddon.. . ental and hu anistic approaches to seeing the world. . That we worry too uch.=lison Gopnik . archaeologist 0. The Growing Gap Between The *cientific %lite =nd The Bast 9*cientifically Challenged9 MaCority . –2onathan Gottschall. <$e should !e worried a!out online silos. even though the 6arge 'adron Collider hasn5t turned up any new discoveries.: –Tor "orretranders.(.: 04. That the hu an species will lose the will to survive.&. science writer 3(. They –6arry *anger.founder of $ikipedia 02..: –"ogra =rikha. %nglish professor 3+. professor who is working as hard as he can. "atural death. –2oel Gold.: .. ?eith )evlin. That we worry too uch. syste s. editor 00.. –Brian ?nutson.. –Gary ?lein. futurist 0+. –-o!ert ?ur@!an. !ecause it5s not going to happen. Chalupa.. protected. –Ti othy Taylor. –)onald ).level thinker. That we will outsource too er. science writer .)aniel 'aun .%d -egis. 8nfor ation Tech *tartups 3. The surplus of testosterone caused !y a gender gap in China. That synthetic !iology will spiral out of control.=ntony Garrett 6isi.. <8 worry a!out the prospect of collective a nesia. assistant professor of organis ic and evolutionary !iology 3&. physicist 03. That glo!al cooperation is failing and we don5t know why. That we will get our hopes up for interstellar space travel. psychiatrist . 'off an. scientist at MacroCognition 0#. The death of athe atics. psychologist ake us stupid and hostile toward each other. <8 worry ore and ore a!out what will happen to the generations of children who donGt have the uniEuely hu an gift of a long.#.M8T . sta!le childhood. That we worry too uch.*tuart Airestein. <$e should !e worried a!out the conseEuences of our increasing knowledge of what causes disease. !ut a!out fictional violence.: . <That we will !eco e irrationally i patient with science: . =nton Keilinger... –*usan Black ore. That we worry too uch.3.. psychologist 0(. –)ave $iner.. There5s nothing to worry a!out. That we worry too uch. –?irsten Bo !lies. ophthal ologist and neuro!iologist 31. associate professor of psychology 3#. . co. theoretical physicist .. That we do not understand the dyna ics of our e erging glo!al culture.Melanie *wan. Blogging and -** software pioneer 0&. <= worry that is not yet on the scientific or cultural agenda is neural data privacy rights: .0. any skills to athe atician achines. <$hat 8 worry ost a!out is that we are ore and ore losing the for al and infor al !ridges !etween different intellectual. 6eo M.. and its conseEuences for hu an freedo : –%sther )yson. <$e should worry a!out losing lust as the guiding principle for the reproduction of our species. historian of ideas 32. –*eirian *u !iology . .+. Catalyst. cognitive scientist 34. lecturer in !ehavioral 01. da it .= anda Gefter.

<$hat really keeps e awake at night is that we face a crisis within the deepest foundations of physics. psychologist 33.."icholas = Christakis.*tephen M.>aul ?edrosky. psychologists. and the ideologies that support it. national. ?osslyn. linguistic researcher 144. science writer 11&. and internationalDand to elude their own role in creating long. The . . /ahoo "ews correspondent 11... The e1ploding nu !er of illegal drugs. The only way out see s to involve profound revision of funda ental physical principles.30. *eCnowski... . 114.Margaret 6evi. The end of hardship inoculation –=da =lter. –=@ra -a@a. political scientist 14#. =le1ander. 85 not worried a!out *uper. The posthu an geography that will result when ro!ots have taken all our Co!s. grow synthetic !rains. That the role of icroorganis s in cancer is !eing ignored !y the current seEuencing strategies e ployed !y the edical co unity. That we will !e una!le to facilitate effective synergies.. That aliens pose a danger to hu an civili@ation. .navoida!le 8ntrusion Jf *ociopolitical Aorces 8nto *cience.Terrence 2. 14&. *%T8 astrono er 140.: . nurture.=ndy Clark. have ro!ots take care of our old parents. 143.. physicist 142. editor 11(. 98 a worried a!out who gets to !e players in the science ga eDand who is left out. –Tho as Met@inger..)aniel 6. –)avid >i@arro. <$hat worries e is that the de!ate a!out gender differences still see s to polari@e nature vs. physician 141. –)avid )alry ple.Cohen. with so e in the social sciences and hu anities wanting to assert that !iology plays no role at all. That <in one or two generations children will grow up to !e adults who will not !e a!le to tell reality fro i agination.. psychologist 11+.ter threats to their own well!eing and that of others. apparently unaware of the scientific evidence to the contrary: . philosopher 11#. synergy fans 14(.. That geno ics ay fail us when it co es to co putational neuroscientist ental disorders.9 . <The illusion of knowledge and understanding that can result fro having infor ation so readily and effortlessly availa!le. 113. –Birginia 'effernan. That we worry too uch.. . -o!in *. . ena!le the to deny co ple1 and ore crosscutting utual interdependenciesDlocal. The de ise of the scholar. %verett. M. assistant professor of psychology 111. let the 8nternet educate our children: –6uca )e Biase.: – *tephon '. Tania 6o !ro@o. –Matt -idley. -osen!erg. .. *i on Baron. . Cournalist 110.: . That historically entrenched institutions will prevent technological progress. That hu ankind5s social and psychologist oral intuitions will stifle technological process. *uperstition. “The fact that so any people choose to live in ways that narrow the co unity of fate to a very li ited set of others and to define the rest as threatening to their way of life and values is deeply worrying !ecause this conte porary for of tri!alis . psychologist 112. M8T researcher 14. philosopher and cognitive scientist 14+..Mihaly Csiks@ent ihalyi.).: .=8s ruling the world.*eth *hostak. <$e should !e worried a!out how we go a!out finding the wisdo to allow us to navigate develop ents as we !egin to i prove our a!ility to cheaply print hu an tissue.

–*cott =tran.. The loss of our collective cognition and awareness. M8T physicist 12&. neuroscientist 12+. <There are known knowns and known unknowns. –*atyaCit )as. *cience Museu . Topol. M. That we are una!le to identify <the good life. pu!lisher.: –)avid Christian. That authorities and co panies will soon !e a!le to read people5s !rains. –-oger 'ighfield. That knowledge is getting too fast. !ut prosperity growthDthe prospect of the entire world consu ing resources like = ericans and $esterners do.). –-o!ert >rovine. C%J of >roCection >oint ight 122. TB producer 121. *keptic aga@ine 1#+. Gerontologist 1&2. $hat we should !e worried a!out is that weGre not worried. "ot population growth. Cournalis professor 1&1. historian 1#3. –6aurence C. <The ost worrying aspect of our society is the low inde1 of suspicion that we have a!out the !ehavior of nor al people. Brooks. <$e should !e worried that scientists have given up the search for deter ining right and wrong and which values lead to hu an flourishing Cust as the research tools for doing so are co ing online: –Michael *her er. –Charles *eife. anthropologist edia analyst Group 1#. writer. The *ingularity.: –?arl *a!!agh. geography professor 12#. The rise in geno ic insta!ility. –2a es 2. M8T physicist 1##. science historian 1#2. athe atical physicist 1&&. That the !rain is una!le to conceive of our psychologist ost serious pro!le s. ost is 1#(. That we will have no >lan B when the internet inevita!ly !reaks down. and 8 think this carries risks.. <8 worry that free i agination is overvalued. The decline of the science hero. –"eil Gershenfeld. !ut what we should !e worried a!out the unknown unknowns. at the 6ondon *chool of %cono ics 1&#. >eter $oit. –)aniel Gole an.–*teve Giddings.: –)ylan %vans. –2uan %nriEue@ 1&4. theoretical physicist 124. –"icholas 'u phrey. 1#4. The ho ogeni@ation of the hu an e1perience.. neuroscientist to do in co ing decades. That we worry too uch. classical scholar uch. That we5ll !egin to treat technology like agic. professor of geno ics 12(.: –Ma1 Teg ark. financial e1pert 12. Aederal regulatory captureDie. That we won5t have enough ro!ots to do all the Co!s we5ll need the –-odney =. %lectric tattooing on Aace!ook and !eyond. –%ric 2. <Many people worry that there is not enough de ocracy in the worldM 8 worry that we never go !eyond de ocracy. )irector. That we worry too 123. That econo ic growth will halt. The 9"ight are *cenario9 Aor Aunda ental >hysics. –*tanislas )ehaene. prof. 1#0. * ith. That we <are curiously co placent a!out life as we know it getting transfor ed. –)ouglass -ushkoff.: –Carlo -ovelli.: –Gary Marcus. cognitive scientist 1#&. the fo1 watching the hen house in industries like oil and coal e1traction. –George )yson. theoretical physicist 120. <*ocietyGs >arlous 8na!ility To -eason =!out .ncertainty: –=u!rey )e Grey. ro!oticist 1#1. J5)onnell.

–-oger *chank. –Mary Catherine Bateson. –*teven >inker. – 'oward Gardner. –)aniel C.. That we worry too uch. philosopher . professor e erita 1&. psychologist 1&3. –Clifford >ickover. editor at New Scientist 1(1. !ecause it will never !e settled. *tupidity. ath author 1&+. 8 have stopped worrying a!out the pro!le of free will. That we won5t !e a!le to understand everything. a aCor war will arise. resource shortages. That !ecause of cli ate change. That science is in danger of !eco ing the ene y of hu ankind. and <package our worries: in a deleterious fashion. )ennet. psychologist 1&0. or other unanticipated reasons.1&(. –Colin Tudge. That we will !e una!le to live without the internet. !iologist. 'o!!s >rofessor of Cognition and %ducation 1(4. drones.